Another post about travel. This time we are only going as far as Europe with Edward Brown (or Browne). He was born in Norwich in 1644 and studied at Cambridge. He first travelled round Europe in 1664-5 as an extension to his medical studies. He travelled more broadly in 1668-9 and at this time became a fellow of the Royal Society. Brown had a very successful medical practice and was President of the College of Physicians between 1704-08. He died August 1708.
A brief account of some travels in Hungaria, Servia, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Thessaly, Austria, Styria, Carinthia, Carniola, and Friuli…. (Whipple Classmark: STORE 128:15) was first published in 1673 and continued to be published in later years. The Whipple’s copy is a first edition but the catalogue record states that it is sadly missing some plates. Again, as we can’t access our collection I’ve been using online versions, this time from Internet Archive.
The book is a basic travel guide of its time, detailing the geography, places and peoples he sees. One plate shows a man dressed in a Hungarian outfit and there is a description saying that it is convenient for all sorts of exercise including horse riding (and war), and goes on to state that the Hungarians like a lot of colour, even the priests don’t wear black. Brown does what many travel writers do and describes the food-figs, water-melons, pomegranates- and of course the wine. He also visits a number of mines and provides descriptions of them. Brown does seem to enjoy a good spa bath and has a few while travelling. One of my favourite parts of the book is when Brown goes and listens to some music:
….I heard the loudest, yet not unpleasant music, I ever met with; ten men at once playing in an open high room upon large wind-instruments, which they must not to do at certain hours of the day. (pg58)
No one wants to hear very loud music in the early hours do they?
Unlike Humboldt’s book in a previous post, he doesn’t give exact dates for his journeying. A Brief Account is indeed brief, only running to 144 pages but it was very influential and popular. However, as time passed travelogues became more empirical and scientific meaning Brown’s book fell out of the public eye.
(Photos are from my travels to Europe)
Thompson, C. Travel writing: the new critical idiom (Taylor and Francis, 2011)
Day, M. “Western travel writing, 1450-1750” in Thompson, C. (Ed.) Routledge companion to travel writing (Taylor and Francis, 2016) Accessed online 24.6.20
van Strien, Kees. Browne, Edward. ODNB Published online Sept 2004. https://doi.org/10.1093/ref:odnb/3670